Daily Life, Must Read Posts, Photography, Yoga

Doing what you love & making people feel

I’ve been playing the comparison game too often lately. I’ve done so much work with this, as it can be a hard habit to break, but lately it seems like I take a step forward and then slip two steps back. I really do know better — especially when I apply my yoga practice. Yoga teaches that above anything, we are all one. We are energy, and the energy of our soul, awareness, and consciousness knows no bounds and has no separation. It comes and goes to and from the same place in the universe. It’s quite simple, actually.

And on a spiritual level, it’s very meaningful to me. But all of this crazy-making happens when we let our ego out to play hardball, which is just what I’ve been doing.

EGO stands for “Eliminating Growth Opportunities” — cause when you can’t check your ego, you become filled with fear, anger, and delusion that you lose sight of what’s truly important. You are unable to lead from the heart and you can’t begin to follow a path of growth.

So, yes. My ego stares at me with judging, questioning eyes, and looks pointedly at Instagram profiles of younger (blonde, pretty, etc) local Atlanta girls who seem to be the picture of success, doing things I wish I had thought of when I was in my early 20s. Focus. Ambition. Unafraid. My ego raises her eyebrows at me and says, “Look at her… That could have been you.”

I wish I had known more and been less scared to step into bigger roles. I was too concerned about what would happen if I failed and disappointed everyone that I decided not to take certain risks. Why couldn’t I have done more, learned more? Worked harder, smarter?

It’s easy to go further and further down this ego-rabbit-hole. And it doesn’t serve anyone to wallow in would’ves and should’ves and could’ves that happened years ago. I was a different person back then, and there was so much that I didn’t know. There’s no way that I can compare who I am now and what I know now with the person I was back then.

It only hurts me to try to latch on to other people’s “why” because I think I “should” be/look/act a certain way… instead of being authentically myself & what I really know in my heart to be true.

The only thing I can do is be a witness to my feelings and use them as an opportunity to watch and learn from my own internal battles, so that I can take steps to move forward & grow.

If you know me, you know I’m not typical. Definitely not your typical Atlanta suburban mom. I do my own thing. I like to wear no makeup one day and go full on goth the next. Blue lipstick? Sure, I love it! I listen to loud music in the car line. All about that 90’s Courtney Love. I’m messy. My hair changes colors every few months. I’m not tall, blonde, or skinny. I’m short and brunette; I’m fit, but yeah, a solid size 8, and thankfully, I’m still blessed to look fairly young, though I’m turning 36 in a week. My sense of humor is immature, but my soul is ancient. Sometimes I’m quiet and unassuming, and sometimes I’m too loud and I can’t seem to shut up. I am also a good friend, a encourager, and I like to go deep and get people to think and feel. If I align typically with anything, it’d probably be my Cancer zodiac sign!

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I have a rose quartz crystal that I love and hold often when I meditate or read tarot. Rose quartz is known to be a crystal that promotes compassion, self-love, and open-heartedness. Now, there’s literally nothing special about it when you look at it. It’s just a nicely shaped piece of quartz that fits right in my hand; it’s a soft pink color with some depth and striations. I can feel some texture on the outside; it wasn’t tumbled 100% smooth. There’s still some imperfections to the surface.

When I hold this crystal, I literally feel warmth and energy radiating into my hand… Peace, calm, and love. This crystal could be one in a bucket of other rose quartz stones, but what’s important about it is all in the way that it makes me feel.

I’ll say it again a little louder for the people in the back.

It’s about the way it makes me feel.

Think of all the things you love, like, really love. Think of your favorite flower, your favorite place, your favorite song, the scent you most love to smell, a book you love so much you could read it over and over…

What do all of these things have in common? Maybe you just like these things because you like them… But for me, they all have something attached.

The reason why I love all of those things is because of the way they make me feel.

Here it is… I’m getting closer.

“Just look inside, your light’s shining brighter than you know” — Colbie Caillat

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the differences between teaching yoga, which I’ve been doing since January, and professional photography, which I did for 12 years.

I love teaching yoga and sharing my practice. Yoga has benefited me in so many ways; mind, body, and spirit, and I truly have so much fun teaching. It is an exercise in creativity in a completely different way. Sometimes it’s hard to measure the students’ experience since not everyone talks after class – most simply gather their things and go. You may only begin to know of your impact when students start showing up regularly, which is certainly a great feeling.

When I photographed weddings and engagement sessions, it was a bit different. Years later, I look back and think of many of those moments that I was so blessed to capture… Moments of true connection between my clients and their families and myself, too. I used several techniques to get my clients to open up during their sessions, and while the photos weren’t always the most creative, artistically speaking, just out of consequence, they captured a profound and unforgettable feeling. It actually didn’t matter what the image looked like because of the experience that the client had with me.

It was about how they felt when I was working with them.

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To this day, I can look at the images and be pulled right back in to the the rawest corners of their hearts.

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As an artist, that feeling and knowledge of what I created is more important to me than any dollar amount or anyone else’s picture of “success.”

Maybe I’m different.
Maybe I’m a little crazy sometimes.
Maybe I’m not as put together as I think I should be.
Maybe I never will be.
And that’s fine.
I want to do more and be more, but my version of success is a little different these days.
It’s okay, cause I’m still moving, learning, and creating.

This is what I know: Making people actually feel something is the ultimate gift. It’s always been my why. It’s always been my deepest intention and reason for doing everything that I do.

I decided to teach yoga because it made me feel something that I knew I had to share with others, and that is still 100% true.

But when I look at my images, I see something that’s deeply ingrained in my soul, and denying it has made me unhappy.  So, I’m going to pick up my camera again, because art, too, is a gift and capturing what’s inside people and turning it into something palpable is something that I love and that I do really well.

This time, I do it on my own terms. I shoot what I really want, what I love, and what makes me happy. I know how to say no to what doesn’t serve me and how to ask for what I want. I’m ready now. I just have to begin.

“By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others”

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